Round 14 is the first of four straight rounds of GUINNESS PRO12 rugby between February and March and with just three points separating the top four teams, the race to make the play-offs is really on – not forgetting that qualification for next season’s European Champions Cup is also at stake.
There are less than 3,000 tickets left for public sale for the GUINNESS PRO12 final at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast on Saturday, May 30 at 6.30pm.
The two games on Friday night, in Edinburgh and Belfast, could have the most impact on the PRO12 table. Should the Ospreys lose out on their trip to Edinburgh and other results go against them, they could lose the lead they have held at the top of the league for 11 of the 13 rounds played to date.
Ulster have the benefit of a home game, and victory over Benetton Treviso is vital if the hosts are to work their way back into the play-off zone, but even then it is still dependent upon other results.
Two of the four teams above Ulster also have home advantage – Munster, who face Cardiff Blues in the only game on Saturday, and Leinster, who wrap the round up with their fixture against Newport Gwent Dragons on Sunday afternoon, and both of them will be looking to make that advantage count in the scoreline.
Also on Sunday, Pat Lam’s Connacht side have a lunchtime date with the Scarlets in Llanelli. Five points separate the sides in mid-table, with the westerners hoping to close the gap on provincial rivals Ulster above them in fifth.
Second-placed Glasgow Warriors are on the road in Italy. Zebre, for so long the top Italian side in this season’s competition, are their hosts, and will be anxious to reclaim some of the ground they have lost to Treviso. However, history favours Gregor Townsend’s Warriors.
GUINNESS PRO12 – ROUND 14 FIXTURES:
Friday, February 13 –
ULSTER (5th) v Benetton Treviso (11th), Kingspan Stadium, 7.35pm (live BBC 2 Northern Ireland/Nuvolari TV)
Edinburgh (7th) v Ospreys (1st), Myreside, 8.05pm (live BBC ALBA)
Saturday, February 14 –
MUNSTER (3rd) v Cardiff Blues (9th), Irish Independent Park, 7.35pm (live TG4)
Sunday, February 15 –
Scarlets (8th) v CONNACHT (6th), Parc y Scarlets, 12.45pm (live S4C/deferred coverage TG4)
Zebre (12th) v Glasgow Warriors (2nd), Stadio Lanfranchi, 2pm local time (live Nuvolari TV/Sky Sports 1 HD)
LEINSTER (4th) v Newport Gwent Dragons (10th), the RDS, 3pm